PLP leader Philip “Brave” Davis labelled the Minnis administration a failure over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the new lockdown is “only necessary because of a series of specific mistakes” made by the government.
Mr Davis also voiced frustration with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ recent revelation that ICU beds are full, saying months into this crisis more should have been done to shore up healthcare capacity.
“A lockdown is a blunt instrument, a last resort, when everything else has failed,” Mr Davis said in a statement yesterday. “And the government has failed. The prime minister announced a date for opening our borders, then failed to sufficiently adjust policies ahead of that date, even though cases in the US, and especially in Florida, were exploding.
“. . .We asked questions about the nation’s ability to test, trace and isolate dozens of times,” he said. “No answers were given.”
He also took aim at Dr Minnis’ frequent national addresses, while shying away from regular press conferences where he can face questions from the media.
“For weeks, the prime minister has used these national addresses as a crutch, a way to issue orders but shield himself from tough questions from the media. I am furious to learn that our ICU beds are full. A patient with COVID-19 can require weeks of critical care treatment. What will happen to those being diagnosed now with the virus? Where will they go when they need critical care? It is indefensible that the government waited until this moment to act. In the meantime, doctors and nurses are being treated as disposable.
“We are months into this crisis. How is it that the government has failed to support and protect them? Earlier lockdowns, in which economic activity was stopped, at enormous cost to small businesses and families, bought the government some time to act. They should have used that time to upgrade our hospitals and clinics to meet this moment of crisis.”
He outlined a series of questions he thinks the government should answer about testing capacity and contact tracing.
Mr Davis and members of the opposition were invited to a health briefing at Cabinet on Monday. He said the group was given “a limited opportunity to ask a few questions about the current state of infections”.
He added: “My colleagues were then asked to leave so that the prime minister and the Cabinet could decide how to proceed. Our views were not invited. The prime minister’s implication in his statement last night that he made a joint decision with the opposition is not true. We were simply given information a few hours ahead of the general public. That is not consultation and it is not collaboration.”
He also said the government must reduce the suffering the lockdown will bring and take steps so that future lockdowns are not necessary.